Caribbean officials meet to attract tourists The Netherlands Antilles' commissioners of tourism and government officials convened in St. Maarten on Sept. 27. The focus was on marketing initiatives for attracting visitors By Kimberly Scholz / October 01, 2001 Share 1 -- NEW YORK -- Add Bonaire to the growing list of Caribbean destinations to implement initiatives in an attempt to attract U.S. visitors. On Sept. 27, Tourism Corporation Bonaire and several of the island's hotels joined together to launch the "We Are Here For You," an islandwide promotion featuring hotel deals and travel incentives.The packages include discounted rates, free nights, the addition of trip cancellation and interruption insurance or extensions or waivers of ongoing cancellation policies. The plans are in effect for travel this fall and winter.In other Caribbean news:• Tourism officials, members of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association and other members of the tourism sector held a strategy meeting Sept. 28 to focus on marketing plans and incentives. At press time, details were not announced.• A meeting of the Netherlands Antilles' commissioners of tourism and government officials convened in St. Maarten on Sept. 27. The focus was on marketing initiatives for attracting visitors to Bonaire, Curacao, Saba, St. Eustatius and St. Maarten.Officials hope to have a plan in place by Oct. 8.• The Antigua & Barbuda tourism sectors held a conference call late Sept. 28 to discuss any initiatives that may be undertaken.Earlier in the week, members of the Antigua Hotels & Tourist Association scheduled a meeting with Prime Minister Lester Bird to present a proposal to match St. Kitts & Nevis' offer of free trips to rescue workers involved in the terrorist attacks.• The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism launched a consumer advertising campaign in South Florida on Sept. 24 and New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia on Sept. 30. The campaign focuses on the ongoing American Express Getaway promotion, bookable only through travel agents. The ads also will appear in Toronto beginning Oct. 14.• The Dominican Republic Tourism Board is "under no circumstances pulling out of the U.S. market or modifying marketing or promotional plans," said Ramon Bordas, minister of tourism.In addition, the board will "provide whatever support is needed to the tour operators, airlines and travel agents and continue to encourage travelers to visit through a variety of special programs currently being developed."• The Caribbean Tourism Organization is orchestrating a meeting with all tourist offices in CTO member nations, as well as many of the hotels in the region, for Oct. 2 in New York.The purpose of the meeting is to discuss and create a collective strategy on behalf of the region.